Arizona was claimed by the Confederate Army after the battle at Mesilla in 1861 during the American Civil War. On July 25, 1861, Colonel John Robert Baylor of the Confederate States Army proclaimed himself as Governor of the Arizona Territory for the Confederacy. Baylor controlled all of Arizona and the lower part of New Mexico with an estimated 500 troops after Fort Buchanan, situated near Tubac, and Fort Breckinridge had been abandoned after its troops were ordered to Ft. Fillmore. (Johnson & Buel, 1887, p. 103). Baylor installed himself as governor of the Confederate territory of Arizona having established the boundaries on August 1st of the same year. All of the Territory of New Mexico lying south of the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude became the Confederate Territory of Arizona. (Johnson & Buel, 1887, p. 103-4).
Objective of the Confederate Invasion of New Mexico and Arizona
The objective of the Confederate Invasion of New Mexico and Arizona was "the conquest of California, Sonora, Chihuahua, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah -- and, above all, the possession of the gold supply of the Pacific coast, a source of strength considered by Mr. Lincoln to be essential to the successful prosecution of the war." (Johnson & Buel, 1887, p. 697).
On August 1, 1861, Gov. John R. Baylor issued the following proclamation to the citizens of Arizona:
To the People of the Territory of Arizona:
The social and political condition of Arizona being little short of general anarchy, and the people being literally destitute of law, order, and protection, the said Territory, from the date hereof, is hereby declared temporarily organized as a military government until such time as Congress may otherwise provide.
I, John R. Baylor, lieutenant-colonel, commanding the Confederate Army in the Territory of Arizona, hereby take possession of the said Territory in the name and behalf of the Confederate States of American.
For all the purposes herein specified, and until otherwise decreed or provided, the Territory of Arizona shall comprise all that portion of New Mexico lying south of the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude.
All offices, both civil and military, heretofore existing in this Territory, either under the laws of the late United States or the Territory of New Mexico, are hereby declared vacant, and from the date hereof shall forever cease to exist.
That the people of this Territory may enjoy the full benefits of law, order, and protection, and as far as possible, the blessings and advantages of a free government, it is hereby decreed that the laws and enactments existing in this Territory prior to the date of this proclamation, and consistent with the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States of America and the provisions of this decree, shall continue in full force and effect without interruption, until such time as the Confederate Congress may otherwise provide.
The said Territory of Arizona from the date hereof is hereby temporarily organized under a military government until such time as Congress may otherwise provide. The said government shall be divided into two separate and distinct departments, to wit: The executive and judicial. The executive authority of this Territory shall be vested in the commandant of the Confederate Army in Arizona. The judicial power of this Territory shall be vested in a supreme court, two district courts, two probate courts, and a justice of the peace, together with such municipal and other inferior courts as the wants of the people may from time to time require. The two district judges shall constitute the supreme court, each of whom shall determine all appeals, exceptions, and writs of error removed from the district court wherein the other presides. One of the said judges shall be designated as the chief justice of the supreme court. There shall be but one session each year, which shall be holden at the seat of government. The district judges shall hold two terms of court every year in their respective judicial districts. They may likewise hold special terms whenever in their opinion the ends of the public justice requires it.
The judicial districts of this Territory shall be divided as follows: the first judicial district shall comprise all the portion of Arizona lying east of the Apache Pass, the district and probate courts whereof shall be holden at La Mesilla. The second judicial district shall comprise the remainder of the Territory. The district and probate courts shall be holden at Tucson. The governor shall likewise appoint one probate judge and sheriff and the necessary justices of the peace in and for each judicial district. The constables shall be appointed by the respective justices of the peace. Each district judge shall appoint his own clerk, who shall be ex officio clerk of the probate court within such district. The district and probate courts of the two districts shall be holden at such times as heretofore provided by the legislature of New Mexico for the counties of Dona Ana and Arizona.
All suits and other business now pending in any of the late courts of New Mexico within this Territory shall be immediately transferred to the corresponding courts of this Territory, as herein established. The style of all process shall be the Territory of Arizona, and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name of the Territory of Arizona.
There shall likewise be appointed by the governor an attorney-general, secretary of the Territory, treasurer, and marshal, whose duty and compensation shall be the same as heretofore under the laws of New Mexico.
The city of Mesilla is hereby designated as the seat of government of this Territory.
All Territorial officers shall hold their respective terms of office until otherwise provided by Congress unless sooner removed by the power appointing them.
The salaries, fees, and compensation of all Territorial officers shall remain the same as heretofore in the Territory of New Mexico.
The treasurer, marshal, sheriffs, and constables, before acting as such, shall execute to the Territory a bond, with good and sufficient securities, conditioned for the faithful discharge of their official duties, in the same manner as heretofore provided under the laws of New Mexico.
All Territorial officers, before entering upon their official duties, shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States and of this Territory and faithfully to discharge all duties incumbent upon them.
The bill of rights of the Territory of New Mexico, so far as consistent with the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States and the provisions of this decree, are hereby declared in full force and effect in the Territory of Arizona.
Given under my hand at Mesilla this 1st day of August, 1861.
JOHN R. BAYLOR,
Gov. and Lieut. Col., Comdg. Mounted Rifles, C. S. Army. (U.S. War Dept., 1902, pp.20-21).
Confederate President Jefferson Davis Acts on Arizona
To formalize the Confederate state of Arizona, President Jefferson Davis nominated appointments for government to the Senate of the Confederate States on March 13, 1862. Appointees were John R. Baylor as the governor of the Territory of Arizona, Robert Josselyn as secretary, Alexander M. Jackson as chief justice, Columbus Upson as associate justice, Russell Howard as attorney, and Samuel J. Jones as marshal of the Territory of Arizona. (U.S., 1904, p.59).
Although Arizona was never formalized as a Confederate State, Confederate President Jefferson Davis did issue appointments in furtherance of Confederate Arizona. Arizona was a Confederate territory operating for a limited period under military law from 1861-1865.
Coming: Confederate Arizona - Part II: Presence and Actions, followed by Confederate Arizona - Part III: Otero Family During Confederate Arizona
Confederate Governor John R. Baylor. Wikimedia Commons. Pre-1894. PD-US.
"Map of the United States, and Territories. Together with Canada &c." From Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1861. 13 1/2 x 21 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. PD-US.
Johnson, Robert Underwood and Clarence Clough Buel. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Being for the Most Part Contributions by Union and Confederate Officers: Based Upon "The Century War Series." Century Company. 1887.
U.S. Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, Vol. 2. U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, 1904.
U.S. War Dept. Scott, Robert Nicholson, et al. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington: 1902.
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